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Accessibility Plan Part 1 – Baseline Report Section A



Winnipeg School Division (WSD) was established in 1871 and currently has 78 schools, 33,000 students and more than 6,000 full and part time employees. Its purpose is to provide a learning environment that fosters the growth of each student’s potential and provide equitable opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary for meaningful participation in a global and diverse society. WSD is the most diverse school division in Manitoba and has the highest population of students with exceptional needs.

In addition to daily access by staff, students and parents, WSD schools are community hubs for a variety of publicly accessed events such as community sports and fitness programs, polling stations, concerts, and Life Long Learning.

WSD has a lengthy history of developing and implementing innovative ways to ensure students are comfortable and ready to learn. In addition to long term capital planning for building accessibility upgrades, WSD has implemented numerous policies over the past few decades that address accessibility, equity, human rights and inclusion.

The division recognizes that accessibility to preschool education has a long term and positive impact on children’s learning and development. Over fifty years ago, the division established a nursery program in the lowest socio economic areas of Winnipeg. Since then, the nursery program has expanded and WSD is the only division in the province to have nursery at all 64 of its elementary schools. 

Over 30 years ago, WSD established the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre (WAEC). WAEC provides an opportunity for adults to continue their high school education in an adult atmosphere. Achieving graduation removes many barriers for WAEC students, opening doors to post-secondary education and improved career opportunities.

Inclusion Support Services

WSD provides a continuum of supports for resident students with an intellectual or developmental disability. Our goal is to offer appropriate educational opportunities to students so that they may participate as members of their school communities.
Inclusion Support Services is responsible for:

  • The coordination and monitoring of additional supports for students with an intellectual or developmental disability in Winnipeg School Division.
  • Identification of general system needs related to staffing, programming, and space requirements as they pertain to supporting students with an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Intake and processing of requests for additional support for students in their home school and in specialized low enrolment settings.
  • Arrangement of transportation for students entering low enrolment programs in accordance with division policy.
  • Providing ongoing assistance to teachers, principals, educational assistants and families of students with an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Organization of professional development opportunities for division staff in the area of supporting inclusion of students with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Beyond providing appropriate educational programming within the regular classroom setting, WSD has a range of low enrolment programs for students who require a more specialized setting:

Special Education Centres

These centres are designed for students from intermediate to grade 12 (to age 21) who have a mild intellectual or developmental disability and are not physically aggressive. The goal of the program is to provide a modified academic curriculum and for students to make gains in communication, social skills and self-management skills. At the secondary level, the additional goals are to include development in pre-vocational/vocational skills and consumer skills.

Community Access Programs (CAP)

These programs are designed for students who have a moderate intellectual disability and are between the ages of 6 and 21. The students may also have one or more of the following barriers: communication, physical or behaviour.

The goals of the program are to provide modified or individualized programming including an individualized curriculum in functional academics, communication, self-management, social skill development, motor skills (physical), community awareness, leisure/recreation and pre-employment skills.

Programs for Children with Communication Disabilities

  • The Early Childhood Language Centre (ECLC) (Kindergarten)
  • The Primary Language Centres (PLC) (Grades 1-4)
  • The Intermediate Language Centres (ILC) (Grades 3-6)

These low enrolment programs are designed for students between the ages of 5 and 12 who have been diagnosed with severe communication disabilities and who require more intensive supports in academics and language development than is available in the regular classroom.

ECLC is a one year Kindergarten program. Students attend ECLC half days and their home school Kindergarten the other half day. The PLCs are low enrollment, activity based classrooms. Students integrate into regular classrooms as much as possible. One of the PLCs is a half-day program where students attend their home school for the other half-day for one year only. In the ILC students receive small group instruction for part of the day and are integrated into regular classrooms for part of the day.

Adaptive Skills Programs

Adaptive Skills Programs are designed for students between the ages of 4 and 21 who have multiple disabilities or are medically fragile and/or have a significant intellectual disability paired with one or more of the following barriers: communication; physical; behavioural; functional.

The goal of the programs is to provide either Manitoba Education curriculum through adaptations or a modified or an individualized curriculum as is appropriate to the student’s potential in the following skill areas: academics, self-management, social/emotional, communication, pre-employment, leisure/recreation, community awareness and motor (physical).

Programs for students with Autism (ASD)

Autism programs are designed for students who are between the ages of 6 and graduation and have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. These students have one or more of the following barriers: communication, social skills, behavioural, functional skills, cognitive functioning.

The goal of these programs is to assist the students achieving success in academics, communication, self-management, social skills, physical skills, leisure skills and community skills to the level of their potential, through individualized programming.

Programs for Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

The program is designed for students who are Deaf and/or Hard-of-hearing and who are in grades 9 to grade 12 (or until age 21). Participants have a diagnosis of bilateral hearing loss of a moderate or greater degree in the better ear or have a severe academic deficit or a severe language delay attributable to that loss. These students require instruction in one of the following modes: oral but requiring intensive supports, oral with American Sign Language (ASL), or ASL as a primary mode in an oral environment.

The goals of the program are to develop optimal academic, communication, self-management, social, pre-employment skills and community awareness skills. Students are fully integrated into their host school.

Learning Assistance Centres

Learning Assistance Centres (LACs) are designed for students who are in Grades 1-12 and who have severe emotional or behavioural disorders (EBD). Some of these students exhibit behaviour that requires intensive support and intervention.

The major goal of the program is to help students develop the social, self-management, self-control and problem-solving skills that are necessary to re-integrate into the regular classroom and community. Some of the students may also have a modified academic curriculum.

Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

These programs are designed for students who have severe emotional/behavioural difficulties as a result of FASD. They require a self-contained classroom which has a smaller student to teacher ratio that is very structured and has limited environmental stimuli.

The goal of the programs is to provide specialized teaching strategies and adaptation to environment and assessment. Students receive support in developing appropriate social, self-management and problem-solving skills.

Anxiety Management Program (AMP)

The AMP is designed for students within Winnipeg School Division, who are in Grades 9 to 12, and whose symptoms of anxiety interfere with school attendance and success. AMP is a low-enrolment classroom run in partnership with students’ home schools. It is supported by a teacher, a school clinician, and an educational assistant.

AMP runs sessions annually to coincide with the semester cycle. Each session includes an initial intake period and concludes with a reintegration phase.

Safe Schools

WSD believes every child and adult has the right to feel safe in our schools, every day. WSD has a number of programs in place to ensure access to safe schools.

Safe school plans and programs

  • Each WSD school has a safe school plan which includes a school code of conduct, strategies to create and maintain a positive school and classroom culture, specific behaviour management strategies and consequences for inappropriate behaviour.
  • WSD supports the Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (PBIS) three-tiered model of prevention/intervention.
  • Schools develop effective threat assessment and crisis response plans in accordance with procedures outlined in WSD’s Guidelines for the Development of a School Crisis Response Plan.
  • Successful programming reaches beyond the boundaries of the school to integrate community resources, with a strong emphasis on parental involvement. Workshops for parents are provided on a variety of topics.
  • WSD collaborates with community agencies including the Department of Education and the Winnipeg Police Service. Community agencies help to provide unique programming for students and to allow School Resource Officers and the Safety Patrol Program to function effectively in our schools.

School Resource Officers

  • WSD partners with the Winnipeg Police Service for the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, which introduces police officers into our schools where the focus is safety and education.
  • The SRO program allows for a member of the Winnipeg Police Service to be available in some schools to work with our students in forming positive attitudes toward our Police Service. Each SRO is accessible to students, as well as teachers and parents. They deal with situations in a proactive manner, visit classrooms and deliver lectures on topics selected by the students.

Aboriginal Education

Access to Aboriginal Education has been a priority in Winnipeg School Division since 1993. The purpose is to strengthen and enhance Aboriginal Education through curriculum integration program development and learning opportunities for teachers and administrators.

Aboriginal students acquire a positive self-identity through learning their own histories, cultures and contemporary lifestyles. Non Aboriginal students develop an understanding and respect for the histories, cultures, and contemporary lifestyles of Aboriginal peoples. All students develop informed opinions on matters relating to Aboriginal People and the integration of Aboriginal values, languages, histories and cultures occurs throughout all curricula from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Newcomer Services

WSD has responded to the needs of newcomers and refugees for the past five decades by establishing English as an Additional Language (formerly ESL) classes and creating Community Liason Officer positions.

WSD has established Newcomer Services to address barriers to immigrant and refugee students and their families new to the division. In addition to the Newcomer Services Coordinator, there are 12 Intercultural Support Workers (ISW) who provide assistance to students and families in a variety of ways such as assisting with assessments, parent-teacher conferences and orientation, providing referrals to in-school supports (e.g. counselling, resource, tutoring, etc.), facilitating group discussions with students on common concerns, advocating on student’s behalf with the school and providing support on academic, attendance or family concerns.

ISW’s visit and communicate with parents in their own language, help parents understand the school system, expectations, and their child’s progress, as well as advocate on parents’ behalf with the school. Intercultural Support Workers are able to provide assistance in over 20 languages.

Education for Sustainable Development

Winnipeg School Division believes in developing responsible decision-makers and global citizens, who contribute to the social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being to ensure a sustainable future for all. All WSD high schools provide opportunities for students to be involved in clubs, groups, committees and programs that support the three pillars of sustainability. The majority of WSD schools have Gay Straight Alliance Clubs, Environmental Action Groups, Aboriginal Youth Leadership, and Social and Justice Clubs that focus on local and global concerns requiring critical thinking and active citizenship.

Adolescent Parent Centre

The Adolescent Parent Centre is a program of the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre. This school provides access to academic courses for parenting and pregnant women through junior and senior high years.

Individualized instruction and continuous intake allow students to continue their schooling while they are pregnant. Students can remain at the centre until their child reaches two years of age or the student reaches age 21. Senior high students obtain graduate standing or credits toward graduation following Manitoba Education curricula.

In addition, parenting and nutrition courses complement a supportive environment for both mother and child. Social work through Child Guidance Clinic and liaison with Child and Family Services assist students on a daily basis, while counselling through the City of Winnipeg assist students on matters of social assistance and budgeting, on occasion, throughout the year. An outreach clinic from Women’s Hospital operates weekly for obstetric care.

Infant labs, which are maintained collaboratively between professional staff and students, provide access to a supervised and educative environment for mother and child.

Infant Development

Winnipeg School Division, through several innovative, imaginative projects demonstrated that it is possible for the adolescent and the infant to attend school together, allowing the parent to gain high school credits and to learn to parent the child.

The Infant Development Program allows adolescent parents to bring their infants (ages of 2 months to 2 years) to school. It is expected that the adolescent parent will provide most of the one-to-one care with her child while the infant is in attendance. The adolescent parent must always be “on site” and easily accessible to be involved in the care of her infant at school.

The long range program objective is to provide adolescent parents with an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to enable them to become productive, contributing members of the work force and society.

Infant Development Labs are at the following locations in WSD: Adolescent Parent Centre, Children of the Earth, Elmwood, Gordon Bell and Tec Voc.

Off Campus Programs

Off-campus programs provide opportunities for students to continue their learning, an innovative alternative for students who may not be able to regularly attend and achieve success in the mainstream classroom setting.
Today, WSD runs 13 off campus programs:

  1. The first of WSD’s current off-campus programs began in 1981, when the St. Ignatius Association started the WiWabigooni Alternative Program for students who were having attendance difficulties and not having their needs met in a mainstream program. WSD assumed full responsibility of the program in 1984 and it is now run as an off-campus program to École Victoria-Albert for Grades 2 to 6 students.
  2. Joining WiWabigooni in serving First Nations and Métis students is the Niji Mahkwa’s Songide’ewin program for Grades 8 to 11 students.
  3. The Songide’ewin Alternative Program serves Grades 9 - 12 Aboriginal students who have attendance difficulties and whose educational needs are not able to be met in a regular program. The program provides individualized programming and instruction for students based on their educational/social need and abilities. There are cultural and linguistic opportunities made available for students. The Cultural Team and Songide’ewin make arrangements for teachings, ceremonies and experiences. Winnipeg School Division has assumed funding responsibilities for Songide’ewin and there are funding partnerships with community organizations for special components of the program such as bus tickets and nutrition.
  4. Hugh John Macdonald’s Eagle’s Circle program for Grades 7 to 9 students is located at Rossbrook House, 658 Ross Avenue, and serves a maximum of 25 Aboriginal students who are academically able, but who have lower skills due to non-attendance. The program offers individual programming in reading, writing and small classes in geography, science, Indigeneous studies, crafts and health.
  5. Gordon Bell’s Fresh Start program provides a low enrolment setting for students who may be on income assistance and experiencing other social issues.
  6. The Resources for Adolescent Parents (RAP) program, an off-campus for Gordon Bell and New Directions, offers classes for pregnant or parenting young women.
  7. R.B. Russell’s Ndinawe program offers education to Grade 9 to 10 students who may have had gaps in their learning and would benefit from a smaller environment in an off campus setting.
  8. Gordon Bell’s Rising Sun program is for Grade 9 to 12 students who are academically able, independent workers but have difficulty in a larger school setting.
  9. Gordon Bell also has a Senior High off-campus program for Grades 9 to 12 students (mainly 16 to 19 years of age) who are not functioning well in a larger environment and have tried Grade 9 in a mainstream setting.
  10. The Central Senior Years Off-Campus is for students from Tec Voc, Daniel McIntyre and Elmwood seeking Grade 9 to 10 credits but having difficulty attaining success at their high schools. Elmwood also has an additional off-campus for students with attendance issues who are seeking Grade 9 to 10 credits.
  11. The Central District’s Middle Years Off-Campus program, administered through Cecil Rhodes School, works with academically capable Grade 7 to 9 students who may have issues such as: a family in crisis; limited social skills; sporadic attendance; unable to cope in regular school setting; gaps in academic skills; risk of gang involvement.
  12. The South District Off-Campus program serves Grant Park, Kelvin and Churchill schools for students with issues such as non-attendance, anxiety, alcoholism and family issues.
  13. The North District Off-Campus program, administered through Isaac Newton School, offers Grades 7 to 9 instruction for students who have sporatic attendance or are disengaged from school.

Part 1 Section B